Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding

Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding
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The Senate rejected a bill on Thursday that would have permanently banned the use of federal funding for abortions.

The bill would have enshrined in law a long-standing provision that is tacked on to appropriations bills every year, forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

It also would have banned ObamaCare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage MORE (R-Ky.) teed up the largely symbolic vote for Thursday, one day ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place in Washington.

The bill wasn't expected to pass, but Republicans typically schedule symbolic votes on abortion close to the dates for the March for Life and the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. 

A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with 60 votes needed to begin debate. 

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Collins backs having Mueller testify Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed License to discriminate: Religious exemption laws are trampling rights in rural America MORE (R-Alaska) broke with their party to vote against the measure while Democratic Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyLicense to discriminate: Religious exemption laws are trampling rights in rural America More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate MORE (Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections MORE (W.V.) voted with Republicans.

Democrats criticized McConnell for holding a vote on the bill instead of voting on House-passed measures to end the government shutdown. 

"We know that a bill opening the government would pass the Senate, yet we're voting on a bill attacking women's health," tweeted Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Wash.).

The vote illustrated how divided the new Congress is on the issue of abortion. 

Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus vowed this week to end the Hyde Amendment for good.